International Confectionery sits down with Derek Terrell, Owner/Founder of Delta Chocolate for its sweet talk in the January issue.
If you could change anything in the industry what would it be?
For me, the two biggest shames that impact the world of chocolate are child labour and environmental destruction.
What three traits define you?
Calm under pressure, committed to produce the best possible results, inquisitive.
What’s the coolest (or most important) trend you see today?
I think the biggest shift has been in relation to the sugar content of what we produce and the link this has to obesity (especially child obesity). I have revised many of my own recipes to reduce the sugar content.
How do you define success?
My success as a chocolatier is entirely dependent on the satisfaction and happiness of my customers; there is no point me doing this if I’m not keeping people delighted with what I produce.
What made you want to work for the industry?
I had a friend who was also an established chocolatier and I, naively, thought “if he can do it then so can I”. It has taken me over 12 years to get to where I am now and I’m still somewhat short of my friends’ excellence and still with a lot to learn, but I’m sticking with it!
What would you most like to tell your 13-year-old self?
Don’t limit yourself based on your background and experiences, the world is truly open for anybody with the right attitude, commitment to learn and humility to listen and admit mistakes.
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?
I would say one of the Victorian pioneers of chocolate production e.g. Cadbury, Fry, Terry. Such vision to take a niche, and still relatively expensive product and begin the process of making it what it is today.
What’s your favourite aspect about working in the industry?
The variety of chocolate now available from small-batch producers is really exciting, it makes my job harder but also more fun. Finding a new chocolate and figuring out how I could use it in my own creations is a challenge I’m happy to rise to.
What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Make friends with ambiguity” – it has stood me in good stead in both my professional and personal life; being able to accept that things don’t always go your way, that you don’t always have all the answers or the information you need.
Where do you see yourself in five year’s time?
Ideally I’ll be running a small café/tea room with a chocolate shop attached and my professional chocolate kitchen at the back; more likely I’ll be eyeing up retirement – but it all depends on so many things, COVID & Brexit to name just two.
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Editor, International Confectionery
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